How Bad Can Sugar Really Be for Us?
By Daniel Wittler
If there is one thing that is universally loved by human beings in this world, no matter their culture, background or upbringing, it’s sugar. Sure there are those few and far between who don’t enjoy sugar but, let’s be honest that is a tad bit odd. Sugar is often thought in relation to candy, ice cream, baked goods, celebrations, cakes, rewards. All positive thoughts and feelings when we reflect on those goods and moments. If sugar were only in those items I listed it would not be so hard to avoid, but the truth is that sugar is in many many things we indulge in on the daily and it can have some severe effects on us as humans if we are not aware of how much we are putting in our bodies.
Let’s start with the good feelings we feel when eating something sweet, think about that first bite and what you truly feel, it feels great. When we consume a rather large amount of sugar so quickly, our brains dump a whole bunch of dopamine which is the pleasure drug, no wonder we love sugar so much! Unfortunately that is only the initial reaction and does not occur every single bite (wouldn’t that be great if it did?). This is the reason we equate sugar with good memories when looking back on delicious treats we have had before, yes it tastes good but also it makes you feel good.
After that initial dopamine dump things start to take a turn for the worst, the sugar enters your bloodstream and your cells suck it up immediately thus creating what we know as a ‘sugar rush’. What happens after a sugar rush? We crash!! Not the most pleasant feeling in the world. When you view how sugar affects you in this manner it surely sounds like a drug of some sorts, no? If I said it was possible to get addicted to sugar would that surprise you??
I challenge anyone to read this to try to give up sugar for at least 3 days and see just how easy it is. The main problem is that sugar is in so much more than things we would view as obviously unhealthy. Sugar can be found in condiments, fruit juices and even things that promote themselves as healthy! Products such as smoothies and protein shakes/bars. It’s scary to think about why companies would include sugar in something they want to promote as healthy, they could just be doing it because they know they will hook people on their product.
I’m not here to tell you to quit sugar altogether, I’m here to tell you to become aware of how much you are putting in your body. The American Heart Association suggests 6 teaspoons a day for women and 9 teaspoons a day for men. The best new habit to pick up in correspondence to this is reading food labels. When you go to a supermarket and go shopping nearly everything will have nutrition labels that tell you what the product consists of. I guarantee you the results you find will surprise you.